CYCLING | HOW AND WHEN SHOULD YOU USE YOUR GEARS?
It explains how to change gear correctly.
Put your bad habits behind you and learn how to make your bike trips even smoother by getting your gear changes just right.
There are no roadside signs that tell you when to change gear
It's all a question of feel. As soon as you sense that you're forcing the pedals a little, then it's time to change gear.
And as soon as you feel there's no resistance when you pedal, then you need to slip up to a higher gear.
You should ideally find a balance between easy pedalling and the need to apply a little power every time you push down on the pedals.
WHAT YOU MUSTN'T DO
1. Move the shifters when you're stationary
2. Move the two shifters at the same time: risk of the chain coming off, locking or breaking
3. Move up or down several gears at the same time (unless you're very sure of yourself or really feel the need to show off
4. Chain crossing
Try to anticipate your gear changes as best you can, depending on what you see ahead of you.
- For example: Don't wait until you're in difficulty on a very steep climb to shift to an easier gear, because the force you exert on the pedals might prevent the gear from changing
To switch gears smoothly and efficiently:
- You have to keep your bike well cared for. That doesn't mean to say you have to take it apart every evening, clean every part with a cotton bud and lubricate them all again
Make sure that you can shift to each gear properly, one by one, and that the chain doesn't derail when moving to either the biggest or smallest chainwheels or cogs.
- If you see that something's not quite right, either get it checked straightaway or learn how to do it yourself, if you're good with your hands and it's not too complicated
Make sure that the cables connecting the shifters and derailleurs are in good condition at all times.
- It's also very important that the cogs, chain and chainring are lightly oiled
- Avoid using grease or thick oil, which will quickly congeal and prove very difficult to get off your clothes
- Use a light oil instead or an oil spray specially designed for bike gears
- Regularly clean your chain with a cloth, and lubricate it immediately afterwards. Take care not to spray or drip the oil on your brakes rim/brake pads or discs/brake pads
Last thing — when you wash your bike, or you have used it in the rain, make sure that you don't let your chain rust. Apply oil to it straightaway!
So now you know everything you need to know about gears!